Is there any athlete currently active, in any sport, who better plays the media, to insert themselves into debate, conversation, and remain relevant, even during low periods, than Floyd Mayweather?
Like violins, that’s how he plays us, to his credit, over-all….
The latest from the maestro of media manipulation is this: No, Floyd informed us, I will not be, as rumored, even so much as contemplating an appearance in the Octagon, fighting in a UFC cage.
But, wait a minute, I hear you saying out there as you see your screen and this news…didn’t you guys tell me that Dana White said that he has been talking to Floyd about fighting using MMA rules, presumably, in a UFC event?
That we did. But now here’s an update. (See this is how the maestro does it…story comes out, we riff on it, we debate it, his name is in your brain and your mouth, even though he’s “retired.” Then, a day or so passes, and he pipes up. He might add to the subject matter, or in fact, refute it…or clarify it, in colorful terms.)
If you missed it, maybe you’ve been taking care of your holiday shopping and only using extra brain bandwidth to follow the GOP tax overhaul story earlier this week, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto wrote a story. The piece had UFC honcho Dana White rubbing his hands together gleefully at the possibility of Floyd doing business with UFC. White told Okamoto this: “We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal. It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media, and then that shit ends up happening. We’re interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather vs. McGregor fucking happened. Anything is possible.”
Now, if you focus hard on that passage, you will notice White never said anything to the effect of: ‘I am talking to Floyd Mayweather about him fighting in the Octagon, using regulation UFC rules.’
Part of Floyd’s media mastery is allowing fans and readers and news hounds to fill in the blanks themselves, add to the story by making assumptions or conclusions on their own. And that’s I think what happened here, to a degree. People saw “UFC in talks with Mayweather,” and if they only read that headline, they assumed that Dana White was in talks with Floyd Mayweather to fight Conor McGregor on McGregors’ home field.
Anyway, about 24 hours after the Okamoto story dropped, Floyd spoke to Fight Hype, and said, “That’s not what I said….exactly what I said is this, if I made over a billion dollars before, I could do it again…if I chose to get in the UFC and fight 3 fights or fight 4 fights and then fight Conor McGregor, I could make a billion dollars, which I can…we just don’t know what the future holds for Floyd Mayweather…I’m just saying I could; I’m not doing it, but I’m saying what I could do to make a billion dollars quick…I never said I was going to fight in the UFC…would and could do is different things…I’m not going to do it though.”
So parse that carefully…He throws cold water on the idea, but leaves some embers aflame. He indeed does apparently acknowledge the possibility that he’d fight in a real-deal MMA match. I say “apparently” because he talks of fighting “3” or “4” fights for Zuffa, but no, he doesn’t explicitly say what rules he’d be fighting under. Maybe there’d be the possibility of using some modified rules, so McGregor could kick and punch, but no ground-fighting would be allowed…
My three cents: Please humbly accept this column’s intent, which is to 1) Inform and 2) Educate. The age we are in is a tricky one, and readers and consumers of news should have a mindset of respectful skepticism when consuming news. I tip my NYF logo cap to Floyd, today, because he’s a Hall of Fame level talent in this sphere.